Important works by the British sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor will go on show across the grounds and historic interiors of Houghton Hall in Norfolk for the exhibition Anish Kapoor at Houghton Hall (12 July – 1 November 2020).
Sir Anish Kapoor is one of the most influential sculptors working today
The exhibition was originally due to open in March 2020 but had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A number of measures, including pre-booked tickets, will be put in place following government guidelines to allow visitors to experience the works at Houghton Hall.
The exhibition will feature 24 sculptures as well as a selection of drawings and smaller works representative of Kapoor’s ground-breaking body of work created over the past 40 years. Presented together, this series of works will challenge the classical architecture of the house and the idyllic beauty of the grounds, whilst being in continuous dialogue and engagement with Houghton’s history.
Anish Kapoor is one of the most influential sculptors working today, known for creating ambitious public sculptures adventurous in both form and engineering across vastly different scales and materials.
Curated by Mario Codognato, the exhibition at Houghton will feature some of Kapoor’s major works in mirror and stone, including Sky Mirror (2018) – a 5-metre diameter mirror of stainless steel that reflects and transforms the space around it, turning the world upside down – and a series of carved marble sculptures created in 2001 – 2003 which will be displayed across the grounds. A number of works will also be shown inside the house, including a series of dramatic sandstone sculptures which will be presented in the gallery spaces.
Lord Cholmondeley, owner of Houghton, said: “Anish Kapoor is a magician. His elegant reflective pieces throw back the world in mysterious ways. We are proud to have the opportunity to present an important group of Anish Kapoor’s work at Houghton, and are delighted to be able to welcome visitors once again.”
Houghton Hall was built by Sir Robert Walpole, Great Britain’s first Prime Minister in around 1722. Designed by prominent Georgian architects Colen Campbell and James Gibbs, it is one of the country’s finest examples of Palladian architecture. Houghton and its estate passed to the Cholmondeley family at the end of the 18th Century and remains a family home. The house and award-winning gardens have been open to the public since 1976.
Presented by Houghton Arts Foundation. HAF continues to build a collection of contemporary art in the grounds of Houghton Hall, including a number of site-specific commissions. With links to colleges and public institutions across the region, the Foundation’s aim is for Houghton to become a focus for those who wish to see great art of our time in a historic setting. Anish Kapoor at Houghton Hall follows exhibitions of work by James Turrell (2015), Richard Long (2017), Damien Hirst (2018) and Henry Moore (2019).
Sir Anish Kapoor was born in Mumbai, India, in 1954 and lives and works in London. He studied at Hornsey College of Art, London, UK (1973–77) followed by postgraduate studies at Chelsea School of Art, London, UK (1977–78). He represented Britain at the 44th Venice Biennale for which he was awarded the Premio Duemila and won the Turner Prize in 1991. In 2013 he received a knighthood for his services to the arts. Perhaps most famous for public sculptures that are both adventures in form and feats of engineering, he manoeuvres between vastly different scales, across numerous series of work. Immense PVC skins, stretched or deflated; concave or convex mirrors whose reflections attract and swallow the viewer; recesses carved in stone and pigmented so as to disappear: these voids and protrusions summon up deep-felt metaphysical polarities of presence and absence, concealment and revelation. Forms turn themselves inside out, womb-like, and materials are not painted but impregnated with colour, as if to negate the idea of an outer surface, inviting the viewer to the inner reaches of the imagination. Kapoor’s geometric forms from the early 1980s, for example, rise up from the floor and appear to be made of pure pigment, while the viscous, blood-red wax sculptures from the last ten years – kinetic and self-generating – ravage their own surfaces and explode the quiet of the gallery environment. There are resonances with mythologies of the ancient world – Indian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman – and with modern times, where 20th century events loom large.
Recent solo exhibitions of Sir Anish Kapoor include CorpArtes, Santiago, Chile (2019); Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery, London, UK (2019); Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal (2018); ‘Descension” at Public Art Fund, Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1, New York, NY, USA (2017); Parque de la Memoria, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2017); MAST Foundation, Bologna, Italy (2017); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City, Mexico (2016); Couvent de la Tourette, Eveux, France (2015); Château de Versailles, France (2015) and The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Moscow, Russia (2015). He represented Britain at the 44th Venice Biennale in 1990 with Void Field (1989), for which he was awarded the Premio Duemila for Best Young Artist. Kapoor won the Turner Prize in 1991 and has honorary fellowships from the University of Wolverhampton, UK (1999), the Royal Institute of British Architecture, London, UK (2001) and an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford, UK (2014). Anish Kapoor was awarded a CBE in 2003 and a Knighthood in 2013 for services to visual arts. Large scale public projects include Cloud Gate (2004) in Millennium Park, Chicago, USA and ArcelorMittal Orbit (2012) in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, UK.
Mario Codognato was since 2005 the chief curator of MADRE, the new museum of contemporary art in Naples, where he has curated, among others, the retrospectives of the work of Jannis Kounellis (2006), Rachel Whiteread (2007), Thomas Struth (2008) and Franz West (2010). He has previously worked at the contemporary art project at the Archaeological Museum in Naples, where he curated exhibitions of Francesco Clemente (2002), Jeff Koons (2003), Anish Kapoor (2003), Richard Serra (2004), Anselm Kiefer (2004) and the first-ever museum retrospective of Damien Hirst (2004). He has curated several thematic exhibitions, including Barock at MADRE in 2009 and Fragile? at the Cini Foundation in Venice in 2013. From 2014 to 2016 he was chief curator at the 21er Haus of the Belvedere in Vienna, where he has curated among others, the retrospective exhibitions of Olafur Eliasson, Tomas Saraceno and Sterling Ruby, and the exhibition “Sleepless” on the history and role of the bed in art. Since 2016 he is director of the Anish Kapoor Foundation.
Sir Anish Kapoor at Houghton Hall (12 July – 1 November 2020). Presented by Houghton Hall. Supported by Dorotheum. With support from Lisson Gallery.